In addition to a massive transition of power being decided upon in our country early this November, there was another big transition of power that recently took place. Maybe even bigger. (We are being sarcastic of course…) If you’re a fan of The Bachelorette, you probably already know what we’re talking about. After just a handful of episodes of what may be one of the most dramatic seasons yet, Clare Crawley quit the show (in essence dumping sixteen men at once) to be with NFL alum and model, Dale Moss (oh, Dale, you’re so dreamy!). The two got engaged on the show only after only a few episodes, and it’s still unknown whether or not they found a way to chat before filming. Regardless of whether they did chat in the months leading up to filming, most of us can agree that they got engaged at a ridiculous speed. While getting a diamond ring and planning a wedding can all seem glamorous and exciting, it’s important to remember that agreeing to get married goes so far beyond those initial thrills. Most people know that. Most Bachelor/Bachelorette contestants don’t seem to.
While some may view the Dale-Clare situation as romantic, the lightning fast engagement is pretty reckless not only from a relationship compatibility standpoint (nothing against love at first sight), but even more so from a, ya know, life planning standpoint. There are a laundry list of things that couples should ensure they are on the same page about if they are looking to enjoy a happy marriage that lasts. We’re going to now talk about some of the things that Clare and Dale definitely did NOT take the time to talk through before getting engaged – all while keeping our fingers crossed that they might do so before the wedding.
We know, we know. Money is by no means a romantic thing to discuss – but there is a reason we’re mentioning it first. According to daveramsey.com, money is the number one issue that married couples fight about. The same source cites that eighty-seven percent (87%) of respondents who say their marriage is “great” also say they and their spouse work together to set long-term goals for their money, compared to 41% of respondents who say their marriage is “okay” or “in crisis.” Moral of the story? Talking about money regularly and setting long-term goals is instrumental to a strong, long-lasting marriage.
Why Consider A Joint Bank Account?
If they plan to live together, Clare and Dale would benefit from discussing the option of a joint bank account. A joint bank account can help make budgeting for couples more seamless, as joint expenses can be paid out of the same place. Additionally, each person can pay into the account depending on their income- so, in essence, bills are being paid according to the percentage of each party’s income. Overall, a joint bank account can help promote an open, transparent relationship with money for, well, a relationship.
What About Debt?
More and more marriages these days are starting off in the red. Between inflation, the cost of medical care, and now in 2020 with the economy taking a turn for the worst, higher consumer debt is becoming all the more common. While debt is nothing to be ashamed of, the more debt that couples have, the more likely the topic is to be their top issue to argue about. Before tying the knot, it’s vital for both spouses to be aware of one another’s debt – and all of it. Familiarizing yourself with your partner’s balance sheet is not only essential to better navigate your own joint finances, but it’s part of looking out for your own best interest, as well. In the case of a divorce, any debt that your partner holds could become partially your responsibility, making it all the more essential to be aware of the debt you jointly hold. It’s doubtful that Clare and Dale are in the red considering their combined net worth (sources estimate they are each worth over $1 million) but this will be an important thing for them to consider in the future when taking on more debt.
A Big or Small Wedding?
Okay, big weddings now seem to be a thing of distant fantasies, but we’re guessing they’ll be possible again at some point this… decade? Hopefully in the next couple of years. Anyways, when we are all able to have the sorts of weddings that we want again, it’s important to talk with your future spouse about just what kind of wedding you want to have, and whether or not you have the financial means to make it work
There are of course already rumors swirling about a potential secret wedding between Clare and Dale – but knowing them, it seems like we would’ve seen some photos of the big day if that were the case..
US couples who have postponed their weddings on account of the pandemic alone owe more than a whopping $3.7 billion in loans (Source). Depending on your existing debt situation and whether or not you’ll need to take out personal loans to make the wedding that you want work financially, you’ll want to have a thorough discussion with your future spouse to ensure you’re aligned on your vision for the wedding. If only one of you wants a large wedding and doing so takes a financial toll, it could lead to strain on your relationship. While there is nothing wrong with a big wedding, it’s important to be on the same wavelength as your spouse when it comes to what you want in a wedding, and what you’re willing to spend on it.
Especially in the uncertain economy we are living in, it’s important to remember that career choices can be very fluid. Plus, depending on which line of work you and your spouse are in, you could pull longer hours at certain times of the year, etc. It all comes back to flexibility. That being said, it is important to discuss long-term career goals and expectations that come with that, of course with some room for adjustment as the unexpected happens. Things you and your partner may want to be on the same page with though are whether one of you plans to pursue a higher degree for your job field, and perhaps if one of you hopes to stop working if you have a family, tend to an aging parent, etc. This can all seem a bit overwhelming to think about before you’re even married, but it can be beneficial to at least discuss it hypothetically so that you aren’t going in blind. And like we said, of course things change. While Clare and Dale are currently doing just fine riding out the fame from this season of The Bachelorette, they may want to discuss future career goals. Because, let’s be real, does any bachelorette/bachelor contestant ever go back to a “normal” job after??
Discuss It All with A Prenup
Depending on when Clare and Dale tie the knot, they may or may not have time to get a prenup drafted…but they probably should. A prenup, more formally known as a prenuptial agreement, is a legal contract between two people engaged to be married that uses clauses to legislate how their assets would be split up in the case of a divorce. With the implementation of various clauses, prenups can help couples put on paper the various financial agreements and intentions that they plan to follow throughout their marriage.
The beauty of a prenup is that it can dictate virtually all of the issues we’ve discussed that are essential to discuss before a wedding (with the exception of ruling the size of your wedding and career expectations…). Though prenuptial agreements tend to be stigmatized, drafting a prenup can facilitate a healthy discussion about financial expectations before you even begin your marriage – something Clare and Dale (and most Bachelor contestants) could only benefit from. Plus, this contract serves as a sort of life insurance for your marriage, giving you both the assurance that if your marriage does come to a close, you won’t have to worry about the excessively complicated legal proceedings that can come along with a divorce.
Nobody knows whether the union of dreamy Dale and Clare will last. Is it wrong that we hope they reveal each other’s real selves sometime soon? Similarly, nobody has the right answer as to exactly how you should plan your financial life as a married couple, but it is important that you discuss your financial goals. The prenup drafting process with HelloPrenup allows you to build a prenup from the comfort of your own home for a flat rate, and is designed for you and your spouse to effectively communicate throughout the entire process, making the process an insightful and bonding one. Will you accept this rose?
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].